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Transport Ministry to decide location of new southern land bridge by June

Maya Taylor

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Transport Ministry to decide location of new southern land bridge by June | Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook / Thailand Infrastructure

Thailand’s Transport Minister says the location of the much-discussed southern land bridge will be confirmed by June. Saksayam Chidchob says the bridge will provide a more convenient option for shipping goods between the Middle East and the Pacific region. According to a Bangkok Post report, the government is reviewing various locations in the province of Chumphon on the Gulf of Thailand, and in Ranong province on the Andaman Sea, based on their engineering, environmental and economic potential.

The land bridge project replaces the Kra Canal project, which has been dismissed on environmental grounds. It’s hoped the land bridge will provide a more convenient link between the Strait of Hormuz and the Andaman Sea, 4,000 kilometres away. Goods would be shipped to the Andaman province of Ranong, before being transported – via the land bridge – to Chumphon in the Gulf of Thailand. From there, goods can be sent to overseas markets in places like China, Japan, and South Korea.

According to Saksayam, in 2016, the Malacca Strait was used to transport 19 million barrels of crude oil a day, 16 of which were destined for those 3 countries. He says the planned land bridge has the potential to become a new shipping option for cargo travelling between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, thereby helping the economy in the southern region.

“This future transport and cargo exchange gateway will bring down transport costs by bypassing heavy traffic in the Malacca Strait. It will attract operators to use it.”

He adds that 24.7 million containers currently cross the Malacca Strait every year, which is why Singapore’s port is the largest petroleum terminal in Asia, boasting the world’s second-highest number of cargo containers.

“As such, southern Thailand has a good potential to become an intercontinental shipment and cargo exchange gateway, given its location being close to Singapore.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Buttaxe

    Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 11:18 am

    Better get permission from the US first. Just as they decided a Russian gas pipeline to Europe was not good for Europeans and so sanctioned European companies, they will portray this as somehow sinisterly benefiting China, and so sanction Thai companies.

  2. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 11:42 am

    Not saying a land bridge is a good idea, but it’s much better than a canal. With global consumption peaking back in 2019, this is a roll of the dice plan at best. Hope it works out.

  3. Avatar

    Randall

    Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    Nice map!

  4. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    Why do they not build a shorter route straight across the country?
    Another problem will be ships like to pick up cargo after they offload; what will there be for them to pick up in Thailand?
    Another problem is these goods in transit will be subjected to the high import tariffs, which I am sure the greedy Thais will still collect.
    Another problem is the usual corrupt Thai administration is bound to stick their sticky fingers into any enterprise, and the foreign ships will sail on after their first experience of wonderful Thailand.
    The last problem is who is going to build it for them?
    Can the Thais build it without foreign expertise and foreign investment?
    Thailand is too corrupt, unstable, and unreliable now, as they have proved over the last year.
    Investors will take their funds elsewhere.
    IMHO

  5. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    Buttaxe the land bridge theoretically would help China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea relatively equally. Since three of those four are US allies, why would the Americans have a problem? Fact is the land bridge is a minimal benefit at best to any of them, and that’s only if world wide consumption increases above 2019 levels. That’s not going to ever happen since world demographics will preclude it. However that misses the main point which is China doesn’t care about a land bridge, they wanted a canal. In addition, their desire was for strategic reasons, not economic ones. Even then it wasn’t America who had an issue, it was India. As for NORD Stream 2, yes America has a huge issue but it’s probably not the one you think. While it’s obvious to most America paying billions every year to protect Europe from Russia, while at the same time Europe becomes more dependent on the Russians doesn’t make sense. Certainly not when Russia spends all those Euros on weapons. The real problem with the pipeline in service is it removes the last impediment stopping the Russians from finishing off the Ukraine. Once that happens Russian tanks are on the door step of NATO. In what world does that make sense to Europe? Forest for the trees Buttaxe, forest for the trees.

  6. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    A “landbridge”?

    Rail? Road? even pipeline?

    With un-loading, transport, and re-loading costs could it ever be profitable for anyone other than those getting a cut of the construction costs?

  7. Avatar

    Das

    Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 12:27 am

    Build it and they won’t come.

  8. Avatar

    Ted

    Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 7:26 am

    Not the first time this one comes up, and most probably not the last! As I can never [in my wildest dreams] believe that it will ever become a reality.

    For me, it’s a laughable way for more money being handed to officers bank accounts, meanwhile people is forced away from their land and life’s. Same time as nature and animals gets destroyed, not forgetting about where they will plan to put excavated earth to make the channel.

  9. Avatar

    Buttaxe

    Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 10:59 am

    Dear oh dear, I’m afraid I have neither the time nor the crayons to get you started in geopolitics. “Finishing off Ukraine” indeed LOL

    Let me put it simply for you: the worst nightmare for the US (elite) is free trade and cordial relations between Europe, Russia and China, that is Eurasia. Why? Because that ends the era of US hegemony – it’s not rocket science. Therefore all policy is to destabilise, divide and rule.

    Everything else is details.

    Further reading: Confessions of an Economic Hitman; Sorrows of Empire, War is a Racket, Manufacturing Consent… and the documentary Why We Fight.

  10. Avatar

    Buttaxe

    Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 11:22 am

    Nailed it. Singapore vs Thailand: First world vs would-be (never be) First world.

  11. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 12:11 pm

    What “channel”, Ted? 😯

  12. Avatar

    Neanderthal

    Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    The Great Silk Road Steel Belt Route – Will in future be RAIL.
    Ships are too slow and definitely will not terminate routes either side of the Kra / Thai Peninsular.
    Estimates are that by 2030 7.5 Million Containers per year will transit by rail – 20,000 Per day.
    Where are the Experts in Thailand getting their data from?
    Thailand is doomed – Lack of Leadership – Grabbing at Straws and NO Tourists….. No Airline…

  13. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    This idea has been looked at so many times and the end result is always the same,it does not make any economic sense.why people continue to spend money doing feasibility studies on this white elephant of a project is beyond most people’s compression self included.

  14. Avatar

    mike0918

    Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 6:13 am

    EdwardV & Buttaxe:
    China does not care about the land bridge.
    He has a land bridge with pakistan for middle east
    And for the Indian Ocean he is developing the Ranghoun Kumming link.

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Crime

UPDATED: 1.1 million baht of gold necklaces stolen in Hat Yai

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UPDATED: 1.1 million baht of gold necklaces stolen in Hat Yai | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Police investigate the site of a gold robbery in Hat Yai

UPDATE:

A man is now in custody for the robbery of 1.1 million baht worth of gold necklaces in Hat Yai yesterday morning. Pvt Ukrit Thongsomsri, a 24 year old naval deserter from the Songkla naval bank was identified and taken into custody at a house in tambon Khuan Lang in Hat Yai. The man allegedly confessed and showed police where he had buried a bag containing the necklaces. Only 10 of the 14 missing necklaces were recovered though, so police continue to search for the missing 4. The car used in the robbery was also recovered as well as the camouflage trousers he threw from the car while fleeing, which were found on the side of the road. A press conference is expected to share more details.

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

An armed and masked man stole gold necklaces valued at 1.1 million baht from a Big C shopping mall in Hat Yai Saturday afternoon. Police are searching now for the suspect and his accomplice who drove a getaway car. The robbery took place at the Yaowarat Bangkok gold shop around 3:30 pm on the upper level of the Khlong Hae branch of the international supermarket chain Big C.

Early police reports indicate that the 2 men involved in the robbery arrive in a bronze-coloured Toyota Vios with the license plates removed. They parked at the mall entrance and one man entered Big C and went to the gold shop. At the time three women and a man were on shift at the gold shop.

The thief pretended to be a customer and requested to look at expensive gold necklaces. The staff opened the case to show him several necklaces when the man lunged across the counter and grabbed a handful of necklaces while pulling out a gun and threatening to shoot the staff members. The necklaces he grabbed were about 682 grammes of gold, worth about 1.1 million baht.

After snatching the gold, the man fled from Big C and jumped into the waiting getaway car. Security guards had attempted to stop the man as he raced out of the mall but the thief aimed his gun at them and threatened them. Songkla Police are reviewing security camera footage now to try to identify the thieves. The video showed the man dressed in camouflage trousers and a camouflage hat, a black jacket, dark glasses and a face mask. No further details have been released yet.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

100+ Covid-19 infections cancels all prison visits

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100+ Covid-19 infections cancels all prison visits | Thaiger
PHOTO: Close quarters in prisons make dangerous conditions for Covid-19 spread

After a small Covid-19 outbreak reported yesterday, the Corrections Department has now cancelled all prison visits from tomorrow through May 5, after testing revealed more than 100 people infected within the prison systems in Narathiwat, a border province in the south of Thailand, and Surat Thani. Originally 2 prisoners in Narathiwat Central Prison were confirmed to have Covid-19 Friday, with contract tracing and testing revealing 5 inmates and a prison staffer who travelled to Surat Thani also have the virus. Now, further testing revealed that 112 infections have been identified in Narathiwat’s prison.

In order to prevent the spread in the confined spaces of a prison, several actions have been implemented. Aside from suspending all visitors, inmates will not be allowed to participate in any off-site work programs, and incoming prisoners will be tested twice and be isolated for 2 to 3 weeks before being assimilated into the common prison population. With visitations cancelled, the Corrections Department confirmed they will allow “virtual visits” through the Line app. Plans are being worked out to handle problems like court appearances remotely for any detainees or prisoners affected.

In Surat Thani, after the 5 prisoners and 1 prison official contracted Covid-19, testing was done on 135 inmates who were considered high risk. The preliminary results seem to be all negative. In the far south, the Deputy Governor of Narathiwat reported that medical officials had administered Coronavirus tests to 791 prisoners and prison staff thought to be high risk. Narathiwat Central Prison has a total population of 2,334 inmates and 97 staff members.

Of the 112 positive Covid-19 test results at Narathiwat Central Prison, 87 are male inmates, 23 are prison officials. Also afflicted are 1 female prisoner and 1 nurse. Prisons present some unique challenges and controversies when dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic. For example, last week arrested protestors complained of human rights violations when prison guards claimed to be attempting to administer Covid-19 tests at unusual hours.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Economy

Southern Thai people turn from tourism to gold panning

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Southern Thai people turn from tourism to gold panning | Thaiger
PHOTO: Traditional panning for gold replaces tourism for income in Southern Thailand

Thars gold in dem hills!

With tourism in Thailand struggling due to Covid-19, and an economy needing some help, some people in the southern Thai region of the country have found income in an unusual source: panning for gold. The Sukhirin region close to the Malaysian border is known for gold deposits in the Sai Buri River and surrounding mountains. Villagers who made money before with tourism have now returned to panning for gold using old-fashioned manual techniques their ancestors used, without the aid of any machinery. Well, just an old pan.

Locals had previously made money selling food to passing tourists or acting as a tour guide to take people around the area, where travellers seeking to get away from the crowded and overdeveloped tourist areas that attract the most foreigners find many unique activities. Kayaking was a popular local activity with up to 150 people a day sailing down the rivers that are now filled with locals panning for gold. The prospectors are now making their income from the gold they collect which sells for 1,500 baht per gram. Families that work together can often collect at least one gram a day.

Thai Gold prices have reached record highs over the last 2 years and many Thai people have traditionally used gold and gold jewellery as a form of savings and investment, pawning their gold rings and bracelets in times of financial emergencies. The gold collected from these Southern villages will be used to make jewellery in Bangkok.

The region had invested in expanding into ecotourism but the pandemic put all their construction plans on hold. A cable car was being built to transport people up to the tops of the mountains to beautiful temples. The area’s unique history attracted people to their annual Rocket Festival, typically a north-eastern celebration.

In 1932, France was granted a 25 year mining contract in the jungles. They extracted almost 2000 kg of gold before World War II forced closure. The mining tunnels still exist and sometimes attracted adventurous tourists, but now sit vacant aside from snakes. In the 1960s the Thai government incentivised northerners with 18 rai of land each to move to the region. As a result, the area stands out in the Muslim region with 90% of the population being Buddhist, and most still speaking Isan dialects.

SOURCE: France 24

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